The Sexist

Trans Slammer: Are D.C.’s Transgender Inmates Still Screwed?

Correcting Past Intakes: The D.C. Jail’s policies undergo a transition.

Pamela, 42, has seen the male detention facility of the D.C. Jail too many times to count. She’s made “seven to eight” trips over the past 10 years, she says. Pamela, a transgender woman, says she’s not interested in being housed with females—she just wants to hold on to her weave, her bra, and her hormones. “They try to defeminize you as much as possible,” she says of jail staff. “They degrade you. Even if they put you in a cell block with a man, they shouldn’t have any say about how you look when you’re in there. All we  want is to be treated with dignity.”

As of Feb. 20, a transgender inmate in the D.C. Jail may have a shot at it. The Department of Corrections’ new program for “Gender Classification and Housing” will allow a transgender woman to be classified according to her gender identity, regardless of her genitalia. Meaning: a transgender woman may now be housed with other women. She may wear the female uniform of a shirt and pants. Her hair may not be cut. She may shower away from the eyes of male inmates. She may even be administered hormone therapy behind bars.

The new policy will be unrivaled in its protection of transgender inmates—if any of this stuff actually happens.

•   Who decides? Upon intake, a transgender inmate won’t simply be shuffled into the gendered housing of her choosing. Any new inmate classified as transgender will first undergo a complete “verification of the sex of the genitalia,” then be placed in single-cell “protective custody” until the jail figures out what to do with her. The final housing decision will be left to the “transgender committee,” a body composed of “a medical practitioner, a mental health clinician, a correctional supervisor, a Chief Case Manager, and a DOC approved volunteer who is a member of the transgender community or an acknowledged expert in transgender affairs.” Whatever the majority vote says, goes.

•   Unless it doesn’t. Slipped into the policy is the following wiggle room: “If the housing assignment differs from the Transgender Committee’s written recommendation, the Warden shall justify the assignment in writing to the Director”—currently, Devon Brown.

That shouldn’t be too hard. The DOC has for many years herded transgender inmates into cellblocks based on a simple below-the-belt search. Those sex-specific housing policies became illegal in 2006, when “gender identity and expression” was incorporated into the D.C. Human Rights Act.

In 2008, Inspector General Charles Willoughby reported that the jail wasn’t complying with the act’s protections. But instead of changing policy to comply with the act, the jail got an exception. The Office of Human Rights stepped in to amend its trans policy:

Nothing…shall require an agency of the District of Columbia government to classify, house, or provide access to gender-specific facilities to transgender individuals according to their gender identity or expression if the transgender individual is incarcerated, institutionalized, or otherwise within the District’s custody.

GLBT advocacy orgs and their backers on the D.C. Council blocked the DOC exception.

Enter Peter Nickles, then the acting attorney general. In response to an Office of Human Rights complaint filed by transgender activist Jeri Hughes, Nickles wrote that the jail conformed to “the universal practice of corrections facilities across the country”—despite the fact that D.C.’s Human Rights Act places the D.C. Jail at a higher standard. Nickles then argued that the refusal to conform to the act was in the prisoners’ best interest: “The basis of this housing selection is that a person housed with prisoners with genitalia of the opposite sex, regardless of gender expression, is a target for assault, presents the risk of consensual or coerced sexual contact, and has a high probability of causing anxiety and increased incidents of fighting and abuse with other inmates.”

These words will serve the warden well when justifying decisions to the director.

•   Genitalia still counts. Let’s go back to that “verification of the sex of the genitalia” thing. That process can range from the dropping of one’s pants to a full “gender determination” in the medical unit. Why the shakedown? Because in addition to “gender identity,” an inmate’s housing assignment will also be determined by her “safety/security needs,” “housing availability,” and her “genitalia.”

Darby Hickey of Just Detention International says that the DOC’s “obsession with genitalia” can get in the way of those “safety/security needs.” The genitalia clause could be a good thing—it ensures that a transgender man can remain in a female unit, where he’d be less susceptible to rape from other male prisoners more interested in his female genitalia than his male gender expression. But that scenario is unlikely: While as many as 20 trans women are housed in the D.C. Jail at any given time, the population of trans men goes unreported.

More likely is that the genitalia clause will be used to bar transgender women from female units—in other words, exactly what’s happening now. If a trans woman’s male genitalia is deemed a danger to her fellow female inmates, she could be housed with men or pushed into solitary confinement. Hickey says the fear that a trans woman is more likely to become violent is supported by bigotry, not experience. “We do advocate for segregating potential sexual predators who have a history of assault,” says Hickey. “But basing that risk on someone’s gender identity is just homophobia in the name of security.”

•   All or nothing. If a transgender inmate is housed according to her genitalia and not her gender identity, she’s out of luck with other gender-specific amenities. Hicks notes that it’s still DOC policy to “restrict cross-gender expression in the name of preventing sexual assault”—meaning clothing and grooming must adhere to an inmate’s genitalia, not gender identity. Nickles has argued that trans inmates are “not required to assume an appearance at odds with their gender identities” because “uniforms issued in both male and female facilities are gender-neutral, consisting of jumpsuits in male facilities and pants and shirts in female facilities.” To clarify: The D.C. Jail issues two completely different uniforms based on gender. In the jail, that’s called “gender-neutral.”

•   Who gets a bra? Undergarments will be doled out on a case-by-case basis. The policy states that “inmates under hormone therapy with secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts shall be provided appropriate undergarments such as a bra when clinically indicated by appropriate medical staff.” Yep—a doctor will determine whether an inmate’s breasts are big enough to require support. If a trans woman is housed with men, she better hope her secondary sexual characteristics make the cut; otherwise, she’ll be forced to expose her breasts each time she removes her one-piece male jumpsuit.

•   No pronouns. DOC staff is now instructed never to refer to a transgender inmate by any “gender specific identifiers.” Instead, “the gender neutral term, Inmate, is to be used with the last name.” It’s easy enough for a guard to avoid peppering his speech with “Ma’ams.” Making conversation pronoun-free is more difficult. The rule suggests that it is somehow simpler for a jail employee to say “Inmate [Last Name]” every time a pronoun is required than to refer to a transgender person by the gender-appropriate term. “Inmate [Last Name]” may be better than the alternative—Hughes says that in a meeting with DOC brass, Director Brown referred to her as “Miss Hughes” but continually referred to the jail’s transgender women as “men.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

  • http://tigerbeatdown.blogspot.com Sady

    I get so happy when you write things like this, because you are so good at them. This, in particular, I just wanted to point out, because it is super scary:

    "Any new inmate classified as transgender will first undergo a complete “verification of the sex of the genitalia,”"

    ... OK, so this genitalia-based gender classification, ASIDE from being super-disrespectful and transphobic, also has the potential to be really dangerous for the woman in question. It's also kind of classist, because unsurprisingly it costs something substantial to get your genitalia worked on, even if you want to, which (it's my understanding) not all trans folks do. When I read "Transparent," by Cris Beam - which is a super good book and everybody should read it at some point - one thing that really, really stuck in my memory was her description of what jail time was like for one of the young trans ladies in her circle. Because, unsurprisingly, it is just not that safe in a dudes' prison if you have breasts. I think they had to send her to a special space for prisoners who were "high risk," and the other inmates were, like, convicted sex predators and other folks who stood a good solid chance of getting murdered in your run-of-the-mill prisons. This is a little foggy in my recollection because I don't have the book in front of me. But, in summary: yikes.

  • Pingback: Maryland May Join in Protections of Transgender Citizens - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • Jeri Hughes

    A good article...I particularly liked what Pamela had to say. The transgender women I know do not expect special privileges or treatment. The District regulations require that an individual's gender identity be respected. There is no special privilege required to provide for equitable treatment that allows for simple human dignity.

    The new DOC policy still provides for forced isolation in the hole, disguised under the name of "protective custody". It is still isolation...and there is an extensive history in the District of women - both natal and transgender - who have been abused by guards an inmates alike within the confines of the District's "protective custody".

    As was stated in the article, a transgender woman will continue to be addressed without the use of the proper pronoun. A transgender woman is a woman. How difficult would it be to refer to a woman as "she" or "her"? Why would the DOC fight that? Because it respects an individual's gender identity. They just don't get it. That is why they still require transgender women to present as men - in direct violation of District regulation.

    The DOC has failed to provide for equitable treatment for transgender prisoners to date, and unfortunately the Attorney General has failed to enforce the District regulations. Obviously, the regulations supported and passed by Distict Council do not carry much weight with AG Nickles...at the very least the new policy reflects that sentiment. At this point, I believe that the Council needs to school the AG on the sincerity of their determination to end discrimination within the District. That, of course, remains my humble opinion. I mean, after all, why not discriminate? We have a history of injustice in these United States. Why should those representatives of the citizens in the District be any better than the rest? To answer my own question, because they are. They have passed some of the most progressive legislation in the Nation. Now they need to see that it is enforced.

  • Katrina

    If transgender people (or anyone else for that matter) are so concerned about how they are treated in the DC jail, here's a solution. Don't break the law. Don't go to jail. You do have a choice you know. Of course there are those that are injustly incarcerated, but I think those are the exception and not the rule.

    I think the reason our jails are overcrowded and the recidivism rate is so high (besides other issues such as people being incarcerated for victimless crimes such as prostitution) is that we are too concerned with criminal rights.

    I can go to jail and get all the things I bust my ass to pay for now . . . room and board, food, toiletries, cable TV, health care and many others. There are people working hard every day that have less than prison inmates. When that changes, then the crime rate will go down.

    So let's concern ourselves with the transgender community that obeys our country's laws and works hard every day to support themselves and their families. They deserve to share in the fruits of labor afforded a free society. They deserve basic human rights and dignity. They deserve to be able to make basic decisions about their life without having to compromise because of the laws of a society where they are a minority. Criminals do not.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    That victimless crime you mentioned: It's my guess that a lot of women, transgender women in particular, are in jail for that very reason. Also, some prisoners are held in jail before standing trial, meaning they're not convicted criminals. Do they not deserve basic human rights? Doesn't everybody?

  • Mark Maker

    Katrina,

    If social bigotry makes it hard for me to get a job, if ignorance and fear from my family push me out onto the street at 15, if "victim-less crimes like prostitution" are still criminalized, if getting a job as an ex-con is still difficult, then when, oh when, am I a allowed to be a full human being? Why do I have to earn being treated with decency? What did *I* do so wrong, when each step I took was made from a narrow band of choices, to deserve your contempt? Why aren't my choices broader? How am I supposed to dig out from under this?

    And why aren't you, you who have so much liberty, so much self-determination, why aren't you holding yourself to the high standard of treating everyone as though their innate birth right is respect and compassion?

    redemption is for everybody
    M.

  • Katrina

    I believe you are a human being deserving of being treated with decency the minute you are conceived. But I also believe there are consequences for your actions. You don’t have any control over the fact that you were maybe born a male and everything inside you is screaming to be female (I’m sorry if I offended anyone by those words, that was not my intention). You don’t have any control over that and bad things should not happen to you because of it. YOU deserve all the efforts to ensure that you have the same liberties, dignities and respect that everyone else is afforded. But you know what, the minute you willingly break the law, I just don’t care about your liberties, dignity or anything else. It has nothing to do with your gender, race, sexual preference, etc. and has everything to do with your actions.

    Yes, everyone deserves basic human rights, unless they don't follow the law. So yes, I think prostitution is, in and of itself, a victimless crime. But at the same time I know it is against the law. So, would I break that law? No. I wouldn't and I expect others not to break it either and if they do, I expect them to take whatever they have coming. Sorry, but I’m not a turn the other cheek kind of gal.

    And please spare me the sob story that is your tragic life. I’m certain I can find another child that was placed in the same situation you were and they made different CHOICES. CHOICE. No matter what, you DO have a choice. I’m not saying you have the greatest of choices all the time, but you always have one. Sometimes despite your best efforts, bad things happen to you. Things that you do not deserve. Bad things happen to me. Things that are unfair, unwarranted and just plain wrong. It makes me sad, angry, frustrated, defeated, you name it. But I know the difference between something that I have no control over and something that is the direct or indirect result of my actions.

    Redemption as well as forgiveness are for everyone, but so is justice.

  • TsioKop

    But Amanda, Pamela was averaging one cell visit a year. Personal accountability is an issue. Lightning does not strike eight times, there is a pattern. Having said that, there needs to be a protection mechanism in jails to protect Trans-Gender inmates.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    One thing that Pamela said in my interview with her that did not make the story: "Bottom line is, don't land your ass in jail." So I think she's aware of that sentiment. But she's also in a unique position to speak to how transgender inmates are treated when their asses, for one reason or another, do get landed in jail. In that way, her seven-to-eight visits recommend her highly as a source!

  • bent

    it's important to note that although the policy still could be improved, two out of pamela's three wishes would come true with the new policy. i believe it is jail policy to remove everyone's weaves, regardless of whether they are on the men's or women's unit, but i do know trans women have complained about how it is done when they are assigned to the male unit. that is an example of where ensuring implementation of the policy will have positive outcomes that are not explicitly in the policy like "officers will not tear people's weaves out of their head in a disrespectful fasion"

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    That's a good point, bent, and goes back to Pamela's final request---for "dignity," which is more difficult to pin down in a policy.

  • TsionKop

    Obviously, she is not aware of that sentment enough.

  • seriously.

    this is very silly and i'm quite frankly annoyed that my tax dollars are being wasted with this crap.

    a man can dress like a woman all he wants, but he's still male and a man. no matter what. he should never be housed with the women in a gender-segregated environment. a woman can dress like a man all she wants, but she is still a female and a woman. she should never be housed with the men in a gender-segregated environment.

    There is a simple solution to this issue: End the gender segregation practice. why are men and women separated to begin with? why aren't we questioning that?

    Otherwise, if you want to avoid the possible negative or unpleasant things that could happen to you in jail, don't break the law.

    transgender/transexual individuals and EVERYONE ELSE have the freedom of gender expression - they can express themselves however they want. there are no rules against men wearing dresses or women tuxedos. but dressing up and taking hormones and having plastic surgery does not change your gender. ever. so, men who want to be called women, go ahead! but you're still in with them men. maybe you can teach them a thing or two about what it is to be a different kind of guy...

  • Pingback: Lowenstein: Transgender inmates "may" have their gender identity respected | Gay News Blog | 365gay.com

  • MelissaG

    This issue concerns me a great deal. It doesn't matter if a transsexual woman is white, high income, post-op, and law-abiding. The surest way for a woman to be raped is for a government to send a message to their men that nothing will happen to you if you rape certain women. There is a far greter certainty a woman would be raped under these circumstancres than she would even being totally inebriated on alcohol and drugs with no friends or aquantences to protect her.

    A prison policy that places transsexual and transgender women in prison with men does threaten even trans women that are white, high income, post-op, law-abiding and of course out of prison and other institutions.

    The message the government sends with this policy to men in America is "If you want rape a transsexual woman, go for it boys!!! We want you to!!!"

    Where do you think rapists learn that it is ok to rape transsexual women. Prison of course; or at least from buddies that went there.

    Right now, the government is just getting around to the murder thing; debating whether or not trans-panic (panicing about the discovery that the woman you just had sex with is transsexual; thus make people think you are gay) is justification for it or not.

    This policy also expands rape culture to chromosomal XX women or cisgender women. If any woman thinks that men who learned to rape women in prison will stop at transsexuals when they are released are naively foolish.

    Rapists do not have such impulse control. Prison trained rapists will not likely find transsexual women to rape for their impulse releases when released from prison. That leaves only one other option; cisgender women.

    Even if cisgender women don't get raped by released convicts; their horrible attitude and views on women are spread to other men in the communities they are released into. This obviously has a horrible impact on the sexual culture of those neighborhoods.

  • Jeri Hughes

    katrina - you can spend time in the Department of Corrections(DOC) whether or not you are actually convicted or even guilty of committing a crime. many innocent people end up in prison, so let's not confuse this issue with turning the other cheek, or reaping what you sow. and as far as justice, and victimeless crime, in the District respect for an individual's gender identity is the LAW -even within the confines of the DOC. since you have so much respect for the law,including victimless crimes like prostitution, perhaps you should be demanding that the DOC obey existing law and regulation - nothing more -and nothing less. by the way, you are a tragic figure.

    serious - so this issue is "silly"? i must assume that is so because it doesn't directly affect you. that it just doesn't matter? well, allow me to differ. legally. this is a matter of discrimination. just because you don't feel that it concerns your own bigoted and ignorant self, be assured that equal rights under the law are everyone's concern. those who are transgender do NOT receive equitable treatment in society or in the DOC. the LAW in the District demands that gender identity be respected, in spite of your own uninformed and ignorant conclusions concerning who is a man and who is a woman. your ignorance can be excused, but not the vicious inference that male prisoners show transgender women a "thing or two". you are a pathetic mysogynist.

    to everyone - if you don't approve of your tax dollars being spent to eliminate discrimination against ANY protected minority, i highly recommend you move somewhere that appreciates bigots. in the District, the citizens and the elected officials strongly oppose all forms of bigotry. the District boasts some of the most progressive laws in the nation.

  • seriously.

    Jeri - actually this issue DOES affect me directly and I am neither ignorant OR bigoted. My argument is that "gender identity" as a protected status is a farce an incredibly damaging one at that. Gender identity and transgendered/transexual politics re-enforce really, really problematic notions about what it is to be man or woman.

    my comment was not pathetic or mysogynistic or viscious. it was genuine. why is a man any less manly if he wears a dress or has plastic surgery? why can't that information be parlayed to ignorant folks who think otherwise? it's an opportunity for conversation and exposure to things that folks might not have ever been exposed to, not violence.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    One of the elements of the new policy that trans advocates really fought for was to have the inmate's own preference for housing be taken into account. Some men dress as women and identify as male. Some women are born male but identify as female. Some women are born male, identify as female, but would still feel more secure in male housing. The transgender community is a diverse one. Asserting that there's only one appropriate expression of "transgender" is misguided.

  • seriously.

    "gender identity" overall, as a concept, is what is misguided and flawed. gender identity is a myth, a product of our culture's problematic gender expression expectations. gender is biologically defined by sex (except in those rare cases that are biologically indeterminate and in that case, and ONLY that case, someon can "identify" as one or the other or both, IF THEY SO CHOOSE).

    gender expression is the only thing that matters and THAT is what we should be protecting and expanding. that is the point. and if these folks who think they "identify" as a gender other than the one that they actually are, it's because they have misguided, sexist ideas about what it "means" to be male or female. if instead everyone on both sides of this argument realized that a man is a man no matter how they feel or how they dress or who they sleep with or who they hang out with, we wouldn't be in this conversation to begin with.

  • Jeri Hughes

    seriously - you really are ignorant, pathetic, and mysogynistic. and if you believe for one minute that anyone bought your double speak, you are stupid, too.

    your "theory" is as flawed as you are.

    a woman is not a man because she has a male appendage. and a man is not a woman solely because he lacks one. gender is between the ears, not between the thighs. if you subscribe to the concept that there is no difference between the thought processes of men and women, science has proven that theory incorrect. there is a broad spectrum in between absolutes, but the difference does exist. those who exist within that spectrum may - or may not - identify as transgender. all are protected under the "gender identity or expression" addition to the Human rights Act of 1977.

    as far as you being vicious, do you want me to believe that your statement.....

    " so, men who want to be called women, go ahead! but you’re still in with them men. maybe you can teach them a thing or two about what it is to be a different kind of guy…"

    ....was meant to encourage theoretical discourse between male prison inmates and their transgender counterparts?
    i don't think so. let me ask you something - did you enjoy torturing animals as a child?

  • seriously.

    Jeri, you're an agressive moron. the worst kind.

    i really did mean conversation and enlightenment - something you are clearly both of participating in as well as understanding.

  • seriously.

    clearly *incapable* of.... oops typo. i'm sure you'll jump all over that, too. ;)

  • Jeri Hughes

    leave it alone....seriously. why don't you go and pull the legs off of bugs or the wings off of flies, or something similar that calms your sociopathic nerves.

    if you are going to refer to me as an aggressive moron, you should first learn how to spell it. aside from that, your mistakes don't surprise me. in your case, mistakes are pretty much a given.....seriously.

  • seriously.

    Jeri,
    right... just as expected. jump on the spelling errors and the grammatical mistakes and don't look at any of the substance of what i've been trying to say. good job matching up to what's expected of you. thanks for again proving my point.

    you're right, my spelling wasn't perfect, but it really doesn't disprove the fact that you are an aggressive moron. In fact, though, you prove that yourself, emphatically - regardless of my spelling errors.

    clearly my ideas about and faith in the capacity for more expansive human experiences, relationships and understanding are far superior to yours.

    Um, the one with the sociopathic nerves? look in the mirror, my friend. the only one who has mentioned or suggested violence has been you. the one who started calling names and making unfounded accusations was you.

    good luck with your narrow-minded, angry life.

  • Jeri Hughes

    seriously,
    i recognize that you are ignorant concerning the issue of gender identity. no one who has the slightest grasp of the concept could write... "a man can dress like a woman all he wants, but he’s still male and a man. no matter what. he should never be housed with the women in a gender-segregated environment. a woman can dress like a man all she wants, but she is still a female and a woman. she should never be housed with the men in a gender-segregated environment." are you aware that by inferring that a trans woman is a man in a dress, and by stating that a trans man is a woman, you are hurling an ugly insult at an entire community? obviously, you have no close friends who are transgender. if you know them, they aren't really your friends. because you really don't have a clue.

    next, you state... "There is a simple solution to this issue: End the gender segregation practice. why are men and women separated to begin with? why aren’t we questioning that?"

    this statement exhibits very little life experience, or even basic common sense. you would advocate housing women prisoners, statistically weaker and therefore more vulnerable, with lonely, dangerous, men deprived of sexual release? oooookaayyy...

    you continue...."but dressing up and taking hormones and having plastic surgery does not change your gender. ever. " again, this tells me you just have no knowledge of what transgender means. you just don't know any better. and then you suggest that transgender women teach male inmates about being a "different kind of guy". as i stated before, that is just plain vicious.

    you are correct in one respect. i am angry. i get that way when i hear ignorant individuals, generally bigots, espouse their wisdom on subjects that they have no knowledge of. i have years of experience and research supporting the foundation of my own opinion on this subject. and you have...what? where have you acquired this knowledge that you so freely dispense?

    spell check can correct your spelling, but what you have to say is just plain, old fashioned, incorrect. in one word - wrong. and don't you worry about my reflection in the mirror. i am content with that. but you referred to me as your friend, and that was incorrect. i am no friend to ignorance, or intolerance, or small minded individuals who are willing to insult an entire community just because they have a right to free speech. i am not your friend. nothing i stated suggested violence, and the names i used in reference to you were accurate. if they displeased you, please consider them the price you pay for exercising your right to espouse nonsense.

    ta-ta, dear.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    I would love to see a hilarious romantic comedy penned by "seriously" about a transgender woman who, through some crazy mix-up due to gross ignorance and institutionalized discrimination, is housed with a group of rough-and-tumble male inmates in the D.C. jail. After some initial hickups---verbal harassment, groping, maybe a rape---one of the inmates develops a love that dare not speak its name, and learns "a thing or two about what it is to be a different kind of guy." End credits.

  • seriously.

    Jeri and Amanda,
    neither of you have any idea what my experience is within the realm of gender theory, expression and politics and your assumptions show extreme ignorance and disrespect.

    the issue is that we have a fundamental disagreement at the premise of this argument. To me, gender is a fact determined by biology (appendages or no, there is dna that determines one's sex and thus gender - which is always dependent upon sex. those with biological conditions that do not meet said criteria for either, are the exception not the rule). Folks who believe that one's gender is simply a thought between their ears are looking to change that definition and i disagree with that and see it as far more harmful than simply expanding ideas about what it is to be male, masculine, manly or exhibit "traditionally" male characteristics. In my everyday experience, in my life, those that advocate for gender identity are in direct opposition to the principles of advocacy for gender expression. Because of those who see gender as a personal identity, i am forced to continually assert my gender - to both gays, trans folks, straight folks, all people who question me. Indeed in this very case in question, if i were to be arrested, i would be questioned as to my gender before being placed? I find that incredibly offensive. It is incredibly problematic for me and for others who don't fit the mold of what folks see as male or female. And it has gotten progessively worse as the transgender movement has been gaining political influence over the last decade.

    The issue in this incarceration discussion is not one that should have anything to do with gender at all. the issue is violence in jails. that should be treated as the enemy, not gender politics. ideally all inmates should be housed in safe environments and if that cannot be accomplished in groups, then they should be placed individually and not according to any gender criteria. If you're honestly going to tell me that a "transgender" man (or a woman that expresses herself in ways that are traditionally defined as masculine or manly) is safer in a room with violent men than that person is in a room with women, you are sadly mistaken.

    I know that neither of you can comprehend the notion that i was in no way implying violence in my statement about people being exposed to each other and learning from each other. I find that incredibly sad. Really, that implication of violence that you took from my statement was not intended in any way. It is the last thing that i would ever imply. Actually, if you paid attention to what i've been trying to say, my position is to work together and communicate our differences which will lead to increased understanding and decrease the polarization that is perpetuated by gender stereotypes that the transgender/transsexual folks base their arguments upon.

  • Jeri Hughes

    seriously, as i stated previously, you just dont' get it. you do, however, make a stab at being sincere for which i will afford you some credit, if not credibility. you close your argument stating that communication will result in increased understanding, implying that the need for that understanding is based on the polarization perpetuated by gender stereotypes that transgender individuals are responsible for. do you have any concept of how ridiculous that statement is? your entire argument is based on a theory that you have developed internally, rather than real life experience. you quite simply have no idea what you are talking about. do some first hand research - meaning get out and meet some real transgender women and men - and get back to me. if you want to read a book on the subject, i think you would find "whipping girl" by julia serano as good as what is out there.

  • seriously.

    actually, jeri, just because i don't agree with you does not mean that i don't get it.

    I didn't say that transgender/transsexual folks are responsible for creating the gender stereotypes... i said that their arguments and practices (along with the arguments and practices of other narrow-minded folks) are based upon, and therefore bear responsibility for perpetuating, them and do absolutely nothing to make the world a more accepting place - less polarized by problematic and false associations attributed to gender.

    my theories and experiences have not been developed internally. did you not read why i just wrote? my everyday life is adversely affected by the "advancements" advocated for by trans folks and their supporters.

    basically the point is this - ideas about gender are a cultural phenomenon. I think we can both agree on this? However that does not mean that gender itself is a cultural product, and that is where we disagree. what i'm saying is, if our culture didn't have problematic definitions of what it means to be a man or masculine, that people internalize, then no one would ever "feel" like they don't meet that particular criteria (for whatever reason).

    This is not to say that folks can't have plastic surgery or take hormones or do whatever they want to do to be more comfortable or happy in their bodies - for any reason, gender related or no. However, to say that it is as a result of not "being" their genetically determined gender is where the problem is. Clearly these folks have been adversely affected by problematic cultural ideologies of what it means to "be" or "express" their gender.

    and i do know transgender and transsexual women and men. i have also read extensively on the subject. i hardly think that matters in our conversation, however. again, just because i don't agree with you does not mean that i am wrong.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    As a side note, Whipping Girl completely changed the way that I looked at sexism and misogyny in America. I love that book!

  • Jeri Hughes

    LOL, no, seriously, it doesn't mean you are wrong.... but you are wrong, just the same. and you still don't get it. i know of no one's life that has truly been adversely affected by advancements for "trans folk", so you will just have to detail specifically how it has adversely affected your own. have you suffered unemployment? been refused access to a bathroom? passed over for a promotion? exactly how has the "transgender agenda" affected you? and what exactly are the "problematic and false associations attributed to gender" that you repeatedly refer to? where do you know the trans men and women that you refer to, and what do they think of you? are they aware of your views? exactly what books have you read? LOL i don't believe half of what you have written...or more than half. because you just don't get it.

  • seriously.

    actually, Jeri, you're the one who is wrong. completely and totally 100% wrong. about me and about gender entirely.

    unfortunately, you're loud and aggressive in your ignorance and attempts drown out all logic and reason - most bullies are - but it doesn't make anything you say or believe actually credible, reasonable, logical, correct or beneficial.

  • Jeri Hughes

    LOL! like i said, seriously, you don't have a clue. and you didn't answer my questions, either. what, no books? do a google, quick! LOL i am not a bully, by the way, quite the opposite. i do have a habit of humiliating them. i like for them to see how it feels. keep picking on the transgender community, and see where it gets you. by the way, most bullies like to operate in the shadows. how about you? no real name to post? let the world know who you are, and how much there is to gain by concurring to your "reasonable,logical, correct, and benefical" opinions. perhaps you can do a "manifesto"....?

  • seriously.

    OMG! LOL! ROTFL! wow! i'm on a computer! aren't acronyms awesome?!?

    you know, that's not a bad idea, Jeri. i should write a manifesto! first good idea you've had for this whole discussion... i'll be sure to run it through the spell checker ;)

    something needs to be said, clearly. ya'll who have been drinking the kool-aid need to be stood up to before you do more damage to the progress that gay folks and feminists have been working so hard to achieve and maintain in the interest of gender equality and gender expression protections.

    for your information, people like you are exactly why i post anonymously. you are vicious and vile. i wouldn't put it past you to actually physically hurt those who disagree with you. you certainly verbally assault at will.

  • Jeri Hughes

    of course, you won't write your name. of course, i do. i suppose i just don't share your fears and phobias. i am easy to find...i live in the nations capital, and i expect you are already aware i am not a wallflower.

    so gay people and feminists have been working hard? good, i work alongside them - both. on every issue, not only the ones where i might possibly benefit. transgender women started the gay rights movement. i like to think that i am carrying on as part of that tradition.

    although i am vicious and vile, at least in your opinion - LOL thank God! - i don't attack at will. i defend everyone's rights. i defend them against bullies who will in no uncertain terms define them.

    by the way, i just came from the SLDN rally at the capital. were you there? have you ever actually done anything for anyone's rights? and why don't you at least answer my questions, even if you don't have the courage to say anything unless shrouded by a curtain of anonymity?

    my name is jeri hughes. i am soooo easy to find. look me up, anytime. i will take the time to speak to you. i am unwaveringly polite. i promise not to "physically hurt " you. no one ever had to say that to susan b. anthony, or frederick douglass, or lee brewster by the way. they were all out there, putting everything on the line. they possessed the courage of their convictions. something you obviously lack. ta-ta, dear i have to go now. i have a life.

  • Pingback: Last Week’s Most Popular Blog Posts - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: Transgender Activists Honored For Work With D.C. Jail - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: Big news on the Dept. of Corrections Campaign! « DC Trans Coalition

...